Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home’s Infamous Extra Story Isn’t Just Iconic

The thing that made Layla Sarakalo’s appearance in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” so memorable was that she ignored the production’s orders to only interact with the actors but not speak on camera. In the scene, a befuddled Chekov and Uhura ask various people on a busy San Francisco street where the naval base in Alameda is because they are seeking, as Chekov says in his accent, “nuclear wessels.” 

Most of the extras — including one dressed as a motorcycle cop — follow instructions and do not answer Chekov and Uhura. Sarakalo, though, stops and answers, “Ooh, I don’t know if I know the answer to that. I think it’s across the bay in Alameda,” before moving on. Chekov then says, “That’s what I said — Alameda. I know that.” Although Sarakalo’s interaction with Chekov and Uhura lasts just over 10 seconds, the improvised dialogue by the background artist was memorable enough for Nimoy to include in the movie. 

Memory Alpha adds that Sarakalo’s identity remained a mystery until 2005, when the fashion designer came forward to talk about how her brief “Star Trek” movie moment came to be. Among Sarakalo’s professional accomplishments — which don’t officially include acting, as “The Voyage Home” was her only screen appearance — is artwork she made based on Stephen Hawking’s name and image, which she created with the iconic scientist’s permission.

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